I have a recurring knee problem for 12 years that I have been unable to get a proper diagnosis for. I would be grateful for any advice or opinions.
I am a 45 year old male. I exercise 4-5 times per week, with either a stair-climbing machine or jogging on a treadmill for 30 mins followed by a 30 mins light weights workout. I stretch for about 10 mins before and after. The symptoms begin to occur approx 14 hours after a workout - so if I workout in the morning, I get the symptoms in the late evening, and if I work out in the afternoon (which is more usual) I get the symptoms in the middle of the night (it wakes me up). I don't have any pain or other symptoms during workouts. If I stop jogging/stairs (sometimes I go through periods of swimming instead) it never occurs.
The problem occurs on either one of my knees, but never both at the same time. It occurs approximately twice per month, and has been this way for 12 years.
The symptoms are slight swelling of, and pain in, the lateral collateral ligament, OR the quadriceps tendon, but never both at the same time. The affected area is also hotter than the surrounding tissues. It is painful to the touch as well as during extension of the knee joint under strain.
I have found that if I begin taking NSAIDs (I normally use ibuprofen 400mg every 6-7 hours acetaminophen 1000mg every 4-6 hours) when the symptoms begin, then the symptoms persist for about 18-24 hours without getting much worse, then wear off over the next 12-24 hours.
If I take no medication, the symptoms get progressively worse over the next 18-24 hours and then wear off over the following 24-48 hours. At their height, the symptoms are painful to the point of making me limp when walking, or to climb stairs with just one leg (if you know what I mean), and to cause me a little difficulty sleeping. So it's annoying but not debilitating.
Applying an ice pack to the area has no lasting effect on the duration of the symptoms.
Since it takes at least 3-4 days to get a non-urgent doctors appointment where I live, I have only ever been able to describe the symptoms to a doctor - the most common "diagosis" being tendonitis or synovitis with the advice to just take iboprofen and rest when it occurs. I cannot afford to see a specialist or physiotherapist privately.
If I take a half dose of ibuprofen (200mg) about an hour before my workout, then the problem does not occur - at least so far. I have been doing this for about three months on the advice of an unqualified friend. On the one hand I am happy to have "solved" the problem, but on the other hand I don't like the idea that it could be masking something.